May 18, 1918

UNION

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Unionist

Mr. NESBITT:

If the soldier is dead his dependents are awarded a pension by the Government. It is not the intention of the Patriotic Fund to provide for dependents of that class. When the soldier returns from active service and is discharged, he receives three months' pay, and that, to a certain extent, makes good the amount formerly contributed out of the Patriotic Fund, until the man is able to settle down to regular employment.

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UNION

John Gillanders Turriff

Unionist

Mr. TURRIFF:

There is one other .reason why we should not pass this clause as suggested. I agree very largely with the remarks made by my hon. friend from North Oxford (Mr. Nesbitt) that the provision under discussion might probably be further amended to make it more clear. We notice in the Press that sometime in ' the future there will probably be as many as three million American soldiers overseas. Under the proposed amendment the dependent relatives of such men who come to Canada, may be paid out of the Patriotic Fund. As is well known, people are crossing from the United States into Canada by the tens of thousands every year, even at the present time. Why should we direct payments to be made from the Canadian Patriotic Fund to the relatives of American . soldiers who are overseas fighting the battles of that country as well as our own? They are our allies, it is true, and we are glad to have them and see them in the battle line, but the United States is just as well able to take care of the wives and children of its soldiers, as we are to take care of the wives and children of our own soldiers, and even better.

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Mr. M@

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

I would like to ask my hon. friend exactly what it is that he proposes? Does he intend that if the wives and children and dependent relatives were resident in 'Canada when the war broke out, but are now resident in the United States, they are to receive a payment from the fund? I think that the amendment which, he proposes would have that result. Perhaps we might arrive at a better wording that would meet what I think is in the mind of the hon. member for Perth (Mr. Morphy). I do not want to misunderstand the hon. gentleman, and' may I, without offence, state the impression that was created in my mind?

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UNION

Hugh Boulton Morphy

Unionist

Mr. MORPHY:

Yes.

.Mr. DOHERTY: When there are clouds

in the mind of the hon. member for Perth, it is because, in his opinion, I am trying to raise them. When there are clouds in my mind, it is my own fault-they do not come from anything the hon. member for Perth says. What I understood to be apprehended by the hon. gentleman was, that this provision might open the door to an influx of people-relatives of the soldiers of the different armies-with regard to whom there would exist-H understand be does not contend a right-a position as the result of which they might come forward and say: " I am within, that description, therefore, you ought fairly to do something for me." Now I think that is quite likely, and I also want to avoid that as far as I can. On the other hand the Patriotic Fund administrators themselves-because I may say this is their Bill, and T was asked by them to have this legislation passed^wanted this one thing made clear: They wanted to be in apposition to say, for example, to a soldier's wife who has been living in the United States, "Our fund is not for distribution outside of Canada, but is for the benefit of those resident in Canada who are relatives of soldiers at the front, without distinction as to which of the Allied forces they are serving under. The people we want to take care of are the dependent relatives in, Canada of those soldiers!" .and the reason we want to do that is that the people of Canada feel that when they have in their midst the dependent relative of a soldier, and that dependent relative is a resident in this country, after all, it is not becoming that we should leave that dependent relative to starve on the streets. That is the general idea of the matter. I am quite prepared to adopt any wording that will guard against an influx of people

coming only for the purpose of getting upon the Patriotic Fund or creating a situation where they may claim it. I have endeavoured to find a wording that I might exclude, at all events, the idea of any invitation to people to come in for that purpose, and at the same time create a situation where the hands of the Patriotic Fund would not be tied-say, with regard tc a woman, who, sometime since the beginning of the war, came bona fide into this country and who, perhaps, at the time she came in, was not in want, but has since come into want, and is the dependent relative of a soldier-and that the officials of the Fund should not be hound to say:

*' Because you only came here after the passing of the Act, or after the outbreak of the war, we can do nothing for you." That I concede might properly exclude the idea or intention to deal with anybody and ' everybody who chooses to become later on a resident of 'Canada. II am prepared to concede that the wording in that regard is a little objectionable. If we struck out the words " or may become " and substituted therefor the words " at the time of the giving of such assistance " resident in Canada, that might meet the case. I do not want to dispute that under that wording even it may be possible, it will be possible, for .somebody who came in later to rank on this Fund if the circumstances are considered to justify it. But I think it best to exclude the idea of a general invitation to come in for that purpose. Now as regards the situation concerning the words " who, during the present war, may be on active service " to which exception is taken, I think we would meet any possible ambiguity in those words, and make it also perfectly clear that this assistance is to be while the active service continues, if instead of the words " during the present war may be " we substituted the words " actually on active service during the present war." I do not know how far that meets the case.

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L LIB
L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

The committee is getting out of order. Mr. McMaster has moved an amendment which is- before the committee, which cannot be further amended until it is either disposed of or withdrawn. I would like to ask the hon. member for Brome if in order to permit of discussion 1 he will withdraw his amendment?

Mr. McMAlSTER: Yes, I will withdraw it and move this amendment-

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UNI L

Frederick Forsyth Pardee

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. PARDEE:

Might I suggest to the hon. member if the time should not be

stated as from the time of enlistment instead of from a specific date? Why make it specifically the 22nd day of August?

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L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Order. Is it the pleasure of the committee that Mr. McMaster have leave to withdraw his amendment?

Amendment withdrawn.

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L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

The Minister of Justice moves that section 1 be amended by striking out in the eleventh line the words "or may become" and inserting in lieu thereof "at the time of the giving of such assistance." Also by striking out in the twelfth line the words "during the present war, may be" and inserting in lieu there-ofthe words "actually are."

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

The modification suggested is not "actually are." I thought I said "actually on active service." I do not want to say only the men who are today on active service, because we hope to have some soldiers in the future, and their relatives should be dealt with too.

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UNION

William Folger Nickle

Unionist

Mr. NICKLE:

Perhaps I might clear up this point by reading from the original Act of incorporation, so that the House will see the object of the amendment. Section 3 of Chapter 8 of the Statutes of 1914 reads:

The objects of the corporation shall he to collect, administer and distribute the Fund hereinbefore mentioned for the assistance in case of need of the wives, children and1 dependent relatives of officers and men, residents of -Canada, who, during the present war, may be on active service with the naval and military forces of the British Empire and Great Britain's allies.

When this section recently came up for careful consideration and construction, a doubt- was- raised as to what construction should be put on the words " residents of Canada." The question. w.as: do the words " residents of Canada " qualify the words " officers and men," so that this meaning should be taken from the statute that " assistance in case of need " may he given to all -those wives, children and dependent relatives of officers and men where the men have been residents of Canada at the time the war broke out, and thereafter. Or whether the construction was that this aid might he given to the wives,, children -and dependent relatives, residents of Canada, of officers and men who were actually engaged in warfare. The practical condition that had arisen was this-: at the outbreak of the war and thereafter there -were within Canada certain wives, children and dependent relatives of men, these wives, children and dependent relatives having been for some time residents of 'Canada, but the

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men never were residents of Canada. If we put the narrow construction on the section that the imen must have been residents of Canada any time since 1914, the relief given to these female relatives would be illegally given, because the men never had been residents. It was to clear up an ambiguity.

Mr. MoMASTER: How would it happen that the women were here and the men were not?

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UNION

William Folger Nickle

Unionist

Mr. NICKLE:

They were of the families of many men called to the .British and the French colours. The families were here, .and it just happened that the men did not come. The Patriotic Fund subsequently found themselves confronted with this difficulty : the pay of the French soldier is very trifling; the pay of the British soldier is not great. These women and children were in' Canada, and they either lh.ad to be kept or they had to starve.

If the Patriotic Fund did not assume the obligation, the municipality in which they lived would have to do it, or th.ese people would be left to starve. Those responsible for the Patriotic Fund did just what you or I would have done. They said: an unexpected condition has arisen; Canada is not going to let women and children want for food in this country when their male relatives are fighting for the cause in another army of the Allies. As I said when the hon. member for Brome (Mr. McMas-ter) interrupted me, in my judgment the section as it now stands, in law, is incomplete. As the words "residents of Canada" -should -qualify the wo-rdis "wives, children and dependent relatives," it seems to me that a simple amendment would make clear all that h-ae up to the present time been obscure. In .section 3 -the words "residents of Canada" might be made to follow the word "relatives," so that the section would read:

The object of the corporation shall be to collect, administer and distribute the Fund -hereinbefore mentioned for the assistance in case of need of the wives, children and dependent relatives, residents of Canada, of officers and men who, during the present war, may be on active service with the naval and military forces of the British Empire and -Great Britain's allies.

That would simplify the Act and make it as it is desired to be. I admit that the amendment which I suggest would not, on [DOT] principle, meet the objection raised by the member for North Perth; that the right to claim aid might still be vested in a family who subsequently came to Canada. The difficulty that the draftsman of the Act now

before the committee found himself in arose from the fact that by section 2 of the Act he endeavoured to make the law retroactive; and to make the statute speak from the second day of August, 1914, so he had to put in the words "or may become?'; otherwise it would not be retroactive in the sense that he desired it to be.

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UNION

Hugh Boulton Morphy

Unionist

Mr. MORPHY:

Does the hon. member believe that unless the draftsman put in those words, he could not make the law retroactive?

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UNION

William Folger Nickle

Unionist

Mr. NICKLE:

It was because it was to be retroactive that he had to put them in.

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UNION
UNION

William Folger Nickle

Unionist

Mr. NICKLE:

When lawyers differ, the only way to get a decision is to leave the question to the court. As it is now one o'clock, I suggest that the minister, during recess, take into consideration the suggestion which I have made and see whether it will obviate the difficulty which confronts the committee.

At one o'clock the committee took recess.

The committee resumed at three o'clock.

The CHAIR/MAN: Mr. Doherty has asked for leave to withdraw his amendment.

Amendment withdrawn.

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

I beg to move:

That section 1 be amended by striking out the word "such" in the tenth line thereof and substituting therefor the word "the," also by striking out in the eleventh line the words "as are or may become."

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Amendment agreed to. Bill as -amended reported, and amendments concurred in. On the motion of Hon. Mr. Doherty for the third reading of the Bill: Mr. J. H. 'SINCLAIR: A number of prominent* members of the House have urged the advisability of raising this fund by way of taxation. As my hon. friend from Brome (Mr. M-cMaster) has pointed out there is a further reason at the present time why the Government should take that ' suggestion into consideration, and that is because we are sending men by compulsion to the front. Would the minister say what is the opinion of the Government as to raising this fund by taxation?


UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

As the minister has moved the third reading, he is not entitled to s-peak to his motion again, but I take it that it is the unanimous wish of the House that he may reply to the hon. member.

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May 18, 1918